Shell faces Dutch court as climate change activists demand end to emissions


© Reuters. Protest outside court during a hearing in a case against Royal Dutch Shell, in The Hague


AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (LON:) will face a Dutch court on Tuesday in the first hearing of a case brought on by environmentalist and human rights groups who demand the energy firm cuts its reliance on fossil fuels.

Seven activist groups, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Netherlands, filed the lawsuit in April last year on behalf of over 17,000 Dutch citizens who demand that Shell cuts its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

The plaintiffs say that Shell is threatening human rights by knowingly undermining international climate goals, as it keeps investing billions in the exploitation of fossil fuels.

“We are confident that the judge’s final verdict will force Shell to adhere to international climate goals and stop causing dangerous climate change”, Friends of the Earth Netherlands director Donald Pols said on the eve of the hearing.

Anglo-Dutch Shell has repeatedly said it supports the goals set out in the 2015 Paris agreement to combat climate change and has promised to cut the carbon intensity of the energy products it sells by 30% by 2035, compared with 2016 levels, and by 65% in 2050.

But the action groups demand at least a 45% reduction by 2030, relative to the pollution caused in 2019, as a step towards carbon-neutral production two decades later.

The groups feel strengthened by the so-called ‘Urgenda’ case, in which the Dutch High Court last year ordered its government to step up the fight against climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions faster than planned.

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The district court of The Hague, home of Shell’s Dutch headquarters, has planned four days of hearings in the case in December.


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